Adventures In Daycare

     For those of us who are unable to have a parent stay at home to raise the new little one, finding a babysitter is essential. We have had many an issues when looking for somewhere for Bub to stay. This is not an easy task by any means. As new parents, we are entrusting our child to complete strangers. And with that we hope that they are giving them their complete attention and love.
     This is our adventure in finding a caregiver when what we had arranged had fallen through. We tried to decide between a chain-care, as that’s what we were familiar with.  It came down to just two places. There was a waiting list of over 200 kids for each place! About a couple weeks before Mrs. K had to go back to work (I was already back to work) we got a call from our first choice chain-care saying we were accepted! Mrs. K insisted on shadowing  for a day and they obliged. It was that shadow that changed everything.
     These are Mrs. K’s accounts as I was not able to attend. It started out problem free until Bub became hungry.  EBF (Exclusively Breast Fed) babies feed from bottles completely different than bottle fed babies (which is beyond the scope of this article). This seemed to be beyond the comprehension of the employee who ignored everything Mrs. K told her about feeding our son. She laid him down and crammed the bottled in his mouth, right in front of Mrs. K! In addition to blatantly ignoring the requests of my wife, pacifiers were picked up from the floor and put back in mouths unwashed, babies were rocked a little too roughly because they were crying and not sleeping in their roller-cribs and toys from obviously sick children were given to other kids without being cleaned. If all this was done in front of a parent, imagine what happens without eyes peering in. Within 2 hrs of being there, she collected our son and walked out, leaving us on a mad scramble to find somewhere for Bub to go.
     Mrs. K was part of a couple AP groups on-line and sent out an SOS to her groups. One person came recommended and we visited her right away. As soon as we walked in her home I knew it was not going to work for us. While she was completely in line with our beliefs (anti-CIO, knew how to feed an EBF baby, etc.) her house (basement area for her daycare) was deplorable. Cement floor with small carpet patches, actual dirt and garbage all over the floor and a completely filthy and broken couch for us to sit on. Through the whole interview her child of 1.5 – 2 yrs. old kept running out of the bathroom with a dirty toilet brush and scrubber. The “nap room” was a mini dungeon with a couple mattresses on the floor and no windows with cement brick walls. We played along through the interview and never called back.
     A few more people were interviewed by my wife to no avail. Then she stumbled upon an in-home care provider that we fell in love with.  She was set up as a drop-in provider with a few permanent spots, the last of which we were extremely fortunate enough to occupy. We are still thankful to this day Mrs. K happened to of heard about her. Who knows where Bub might be going right now?
     Here are a few things we discovered throughout our mad scramble for a provider in the last 2 weeks of Mrs. K’s maternity leave:
1) We found the most important; vitally important; thing would be that your caregiver is in-line with raising methods and is more than just a means for you to work. They raise your child over 8 hrs. a day. That’s a lot valuable, impressionable, learning and growing moments that they are in charge of. You’ll want to make sure it’s not spent parenting in a different manner than you are trying to instill. For example: if you are against CIO and the employees put the children down for naps with CIO would you follow along? If you’re practicing gentle parenting, would you send your child to a disciplinarian? Like we found out with the chain-care, it’s a production line: feed, put in a crib, change and repeat. Not ideal for any child.
2) Almost just as important as the first is shadowing BEFORE you actually drop your child there for an entire day. My wife’s instinct to shadow Bub for a day saved him from who knows what at the chain-care. If you feel am irk or are not 100% comfortable with the environment or personnel; leave. You’ll never breathe easy while your child is there.
3) What’s the attendant to child ratio? I would not send my child to any place where it’s more than 4 children per attendant. This ratio requirement various from state to state; however 4 would be my personal max I’d be willing to accept. Especially when they’re only 6 weeks old going to daycare. The lower the ratio the more attention your child will receive.
4) Start your search LONG before you will ever actually need to utilize the provider; unlike us. We did not research all of our options that were available to us. We went with the popular consensus and chose a popular outfit with an insanely long wait list to attest to its blind following. Know that there are many other viable places and often they are more economical 

     When you know far in advance what your plan is for child-care and know all your options and are secure in where you child is going, the process can be much smoother and more simplistic than ours was. We now know that the popular choice is not always the best choice. There are so many individuals with private, in-home services that far supersede what any chain-care can offer.

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